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Overcoming the Fear of Performing By Anthony R. Kolb

Ramblings of a Wayward Trekker

After performing as a professional magician for years as a young boy and adolescent, why now do I hesitate to practice and to perform for people? That could take years of psychoanalysis to figure out. Perhaps it is just the fact that my mother sold all my magic apparatus when I joined the Army and went away to college back in 1985. What ever the reason, I need to over come that fear. The question is how do I do that?

So far in my life I have found the best way to overcome fear, is to just jump right in and “rip off the band-aid”. Ignore the pain and realize the pain will quickly go away. Then each time it will get easier since you know what to expect. The pain level is the same, but my tolerance will increase each time. Sort of like repelling, the first step…

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Publishing

So, how do you want to be published?  What is your dream?  Mine? It was really just to produce a present for my granddaughter.  Her present was the contract I could sign.  If she liked it, then it was good enough.

My self confidence was low.  My belief was sketchy, and my focus was scattered. It took a lot to get Snowball in print, virtual and ink.  Two years.  A huge stack of rewrites and reworks.  A lot of drawings that just plain sucked.

A lot of mistakes were made in book design, in so many ways, and areas.  For a while I focused on just those.  Now a year later, I am more amazed that I got it done.

It was a benchmark.  I have sold nearly a hundred copies of it between print and e-books.  Though it is more than sales goals that it has set for me, I want a better book for the next grandchild.  Design, layout, artwork, story, all of it.  Better.

The truth is, it won’t be the best, that is somewhere down the line.  This is a craft that takes practice, it takes risk, vulnerability and stubbornness.  It takes making mistakes and improvements to get better.

For those who self publish, they also have to decide if they want to incorporate or just be a sole prop; they have to be a business administrator as well as writer, marketer, public relations, accountant, . . .  and so on.  Those decisions and responsibilities take even more knowledge, research and decision making on how, what and who – if you choose to hire it out.  This is serious business, self published writing.

Those that opt for seeking a contract with an pub house have just as much to research.  Besides query letters, deciding about representations, seeking editors, pub relations and what not, most have to keep either hearing nothing back, or reading rejection letters with out letting it stop them.

There are many paths to get to this last stage.  The path is unique to each of us. How we traverse it, is entirely up to us. Happy travels my friends, happy travels.

Last Status

What is it?  Well, duh, ‘Publishing’ and all that goes with that. (Meaning the advertising, the books signings, the write ups, the donations, reviews, all that stuff).  This stage is actually starting from the moment you begin writing.

Personally on my business plan (and yes, I have one), this last stage will be coming in parts and pieces.  I chose to do this my way, which screams rebellion and ego. What plan I have involves the recognition that books, reading material, is much like food.  Consumable.  We don’t regurgitate and re-eat our food, over and over, nor do we pay once and never expect to eat again.

We buy, we eat (ok, so some grow and eat, but they still buy seeds and supplies  – over and over).  That is the way of books, reading.  Those particular dishes and bites we like the best we go back and buy again.  I love my chocolate, so, of course that is consumed and replenished in my candy dish.

Well, I want my product,  my writing is the manufactured good/product, to be sought and bought.  You aren’t going to buy the same loaf of bread, nor would I expect a reader to buy the same book over and over.  You want a new fresh loaf of bread, I do.  So would someone who reads and enjoys my stories.  Therefore, to me it is a waste of money to spend so much on one singular story.  Once I have accumulated several published stories in the same genre, then I will begin deciding where and how to allocate my pennies to advertise and seek the readership to purchase those stories.

Yes, I chose to publish my ‘stuff’ now.  First and worst, and yes, I made mistakes in writing, editing, formatting, and design.  That doesn’t out weigh the fact that I did complete and publish the first.  The start, five of the children at least, and no telling how many will make it to the last stage of my more favored mixed genre tales.  But once I have those several completed and published, then it is time to actively seek out my audience.

If they like what they read, and want to read more, there will be no waiting as there will be several options to purchase and read more.  It sounds like maybe I should just write and prep2pub for a while and then massively release a bunch at once.  Something on the order of the recent releases of entire seasons of shows on the streaming outlets right?  Well, yes I considered that.

But.

How is that going to build a fan base? How is that going to build a readership?  So, slowly all these are trickling out.  I will find my way into the minds and hearts of those who enjoy my style and build my base, one that will require not flash in the pan publicity, but struggling along with me as I go from just an idea, to a dream, to a business.  Then we will do the publicity and the advertising.  Think the best of both worlds.

This also allows me some failure and learning time to get better at not just my craft of storytelling, but all the other stages and business aspects of publishing.  Being a kinetic learner this suits not only  my personality but my style.  Something every writer should consider during those first weeks of pursuing their dream.

Come to think of it what you want to achieve and how to do so best is something regardless of your dream you need to consider.  We talk so much about making ourselves happy, sometimes we neglect to realize that it isn’t always perfect.

I have had no false illusions.  I don’t expect to be come a J.K. Rowling.  First of all I am a J.K. but not a Rowling.  I am  Julie Kolb and I can’t be anyone else, nor would I want to.  I am stubborn and making mistakes, failing here and there won’t daunt me for long.

I am not a success, yet by many standards.  But I am by others.  I am doing what I set out to do. Check.  I wrote and completed all my eight steps to publishing a story.  Check.  I am writing more stories and working on other books.  Check.  Oh, wait, yes, I am a success.

So, before you hit the upload button on your first tale, get clear with your expectations.  Have a plan on how you are going to sell this tale.  What are you willing to risk?  This is a crap shoot people, there is no guarantee you will sell one, much less one hundred. So you will be better off, at least by my opinion, to know what you expect of yourself, and how you are going to accomplish that.  Read, again, and always read.  Research, educate yourself on what you want to do, how others have done it, how can you do what you want?

Best of luck to you!

Prep 2 Pub – PART 2

So, we are altering somethings this month.  This is going to strictly a blog.  Yes, it has been strictly a blog for sometime now.

Oh, well.  Now we are altering the purpose and what not.

We are preparing to launch a website that will allow you to purchase (set your own price as well as set price items).  We are planning on including access to the T-shirts and what nots that we have set to a design on a mass market source yet to be officially named.  We are doing trials with both Cafepress and Zazzle.

What can we tell you?  This part two includes some mention of marketing and preparation of the marketing.

Part 2

A.  Self Pub sources. I am not going into detail because they change their %ages and details as everyone is competing in this or that market.  Find out – research, read, and do your own figuring.  Decisions need to be based on what you hope to make, what you value your work, what the current market is charging, what is your genre?  More questions than answers.

B.  Marketing.  Where and what are you willing to do?  Julie did some book signings, limited.  NO online paid advertising, and only one paid for advertisement in a local paper paid for by her son as a Christmas present. So, our forms and means are limited at present.  Not because we are THAT cheap.  Rather because we have a strategy that required patience.  Julie wanted to have a minimum of three stories, or books to promote before we started spending money on advertising or marketing. That may happen by the end of this year, or first of next at the latest.

But again, this all goes towards figuring out what your plan or strategy is.  Something that you should have figured out before your publish.  Ask yourself how realistic are those goals? Compare your thinking to industry and genre successes as well as failures.  Search within your choice area.  Look to see who and what and where they are doing all these things.

Best of luck – next month is the big month.